Speaker: Gillian Lathey, Reader in Children’s Literature and Director of the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University London
Series: Public lecture in translation series
The proportion of translated children's books published in any one year in the UK stands at around 2 or 3 percent, so that English language children's literature currently lacks the difference of translated texts that inspires new directions or genres.
Yet this was not always so. Translations have enriched English language children's literature from its earliest history: indeed, texts intended specifically for children in the period preceding the eighteenth century are predominantly translations, as are many "English" children's classics, from Andersen's and Grimms' tales to Heidi and Pinocchio.
Two case studies of the translation of well-known fairy tales into English will illustrate the vastly underestimated role of the translator in the history of English language children's literature. The first is that of Robert Samber, sometime translator of pornography and transformer of the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, designed for the courtly entertainment of aristocratic adults, into popular children's stories in 1729. The second, Edgar Taylor, translated Grimms' tales into English in 1823 and determined the course of their dissemination across Europe. Finally, two recent translations of Collodi's Pinocchio will illustrate the dilemma faced by publishers and translators of classic children's texts as to whether to produce a lively and engaging translation for the modern child, or a version that privileges historical accuracy for the scholarly adult reader in the relatively new field of children's literature studies.
Gillian Lathey is Reader in Children's Literature and Director of the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Roehampton University London, where she teaches on the internationally renowned Children's Literature MA and supervises PhD projects on children's literature. She was a co-founder of the biennial Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation and has been a member of the judging panel. Publications include The Translation of Children's Literature: A Reader (Multilingual Matters, 2006) and The Role of Translators in Children's Literature: Invisible Storytellers (Routledge, 2010).
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6.30pm - 8.30pmWednesday 15th June 2011
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